Ten Ways to Upcycle an Old T-Shirt
T-shirts come and go. It's also pretty easy to acquire them without meaning to. For instance, you may have been part of a wedding party. Someone else in that wedding party, most probably the person who had the most discretionary income, thought it would be "so fun!" if all the bridesmaids wore the same matching T-shirt to the hair and makeup session the morning of the wedding. Never mind that not a single member of the party would wear a tiny tee that says "bridesmaid" in pink rhinestones even to the gym; the one with the overabundance of discretionary income insisted. You ponied up. Now you own the shirt, which you will curse out for getting stuck between your dresser drawers in a ball of intractable, easy-to-resent jersey.
Due to the fact that T-shirts are often acquired in such annoying and involuntary ways as I just described, "upcycling" or "repurposing" one can be incredibly cathartic. Have you ever ripped up the T-shirt that an ex left at your house, and then cleaned your windowsills with it? It is one of the more vindicating experiences that someone who has been done wrong by can have. So in the spirit of giving everyone who reads this blog a satisfying experience, here are ten ways to reuse an old T-shirt. (Feel free to rip the old T-shirt with your bare hands.)
1. Clean with it: This is the old standby. Cut or rip up the old T-shirt. Saturate with your favorite cleaning solution. Scrub the shower tile with it, or whatever. Clean up spills with it. Bleach your counter tops and wipe the bleach solution off with it. Eventually the bits of old T-shirts will all fade into the same color, and you'll have proof that whatever jerk left it at your house has faded from your memory.
2. Knit with old T-shirts: Instead of yarn, you can knit things like rugs and potholders with cut-up old T-shirts. Google it. Knitting with an old T-shirt will give you a good reason to cut up a lot of old T-shirts, and cutting up the old T-shirts will make you feel like you are in control of your life.
3. Make cloth toilet paper out of it: "Family cloth" is a controversial topic. One thing is for sure: That T-shirt that the job that laid you off but magically kept the boss's incompetent cousin on board gave you at the mandatory company cruise? It will be history.
4. Sew a skirt: This project requires a sewing machine and basic sewing skills (dang). Well, say you have a sewing machine and sewing skills. Then you can make yourself a versatile, wear-anywhere shirred-waist skirt from an old T-shirt.
5. Make a DIY wet mop head: It's time to hack your Swiffer-style mop. Cut up T-shirts make perfect cleaning pads that are gentle on wood floors, and therefore are the friend of flooring contractors from Baltimore to Anchorage.
6. Cold beanbag face mask: It's always handy to have a cold pack or two in the freezer for the times when you are so incapacitated that you walk into the front door. All it takes is an old T-shirt, some beans, and a sewing machine. Oh, and a freezer.
7. Pack boxes with old T-shirts: Old T-shirts make excellent padding for breakable items. Place old T-shirts between plates when packing up the kitchen to move. In the same vein, use them as packing material when shipping something fragile.
8. Fabric flowers: If you have time to make fake flowers out of old T-shirts, you are a rare and special person.
9. Make a really cool braided scarf: You'll never buy another scarf from that trendy store that everyone loves to hate when you can make your own scarf out of old T-shirts.
10. Handkerchief: Honestly, this is gross, but old T-shirts are the best for blowing one's nose on.
Chaya Kurtz writes for Networx.com.
Updated June 28, 2018.
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